It is a joy and an honor to stand with John at this pivotal time in the life of our denomination. I look forward to helping articulate a vision for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that is grounded in our tradition, yet infused with the Holy Spirit’s power to speak a vibrant word for the current and future church.
Similarly, TE Wilkinson talks about his Vice-Moderator choice on his Moderator candidacy blog:
MaryAnn brings a welcome voice and perspective as we envision the future of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and I am grateful for her willingness to serve and the leadership that she will bring to our shared journey. MaryAnn is creative, thoughtful, hopeful, relational – her strength in written and verbal communication is built upon a deep faith and considerable pastoral giftedness.
Teaching Elder Larissa Kwong Abazia was chosen by Moderator candidate RE Heath Rada as his running mate. Ms Kwong Abazia currently serves as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills in Queens, New York, in the Presbytery of New York City. The PC(USA) press release describes her church as “a multicultural, multiethnic congregation.” She is a native of New Jersey, did her undergraduate work at Rutgers and her M.Div. is from Princeton Theological Seminary. She has done additional post-graduate studies at the University of Sussex. Her previous calls were in Chicago and Manasquan, N.J. Among her denominational work she has served as co-moderator of Racial Ethnic Young Women Together. The PC(USA) press release quotes her as saying “I believe that we need one another to embody the fullness of the Church,” and “Our ability to live in fellowship will define our faithfulness to God’s call to beloved community.” In the Presbyterian Outlook’s Moderator candidate article RE Rada describes her like this:
Her experiences as a Chinese American, young adult pastor and serving a smaller congregation in New York City have exposed her to the positive and negative effects that others can have on one’s sense of identity. She is passionate about God’s call to a beloved community where individuals are invited to bring all that they are to the Table.
[As an editorial comment I would point out that I was unable to find any substantial source information on TE Kwong Abazina from RE Rada’s web site hence no references back to that source.]
Our final candidate is Teaching Elder Leslie A. King of Waco, Texas, where she pastors the First Presbyterian Church, a congregation in Grace Presbytery. Her previous call was at Osawatomie Presbyterian Church in Osawatomie, Kansas. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas, her M.Div. from McCormick Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the Saint Paul’s School of Theology (a UMC school in Overland Park, KS, in case you don’t recognize it). From the available information, principally her biographical sheet on Kelly Allen’s Moderator candidacy web site, there is no information on service to the wider church, but see Kelly’s comment below.
On the bio sheet TE King talks about her ministry:
My inexhaustible interest is in working alongside a local congregation toward the discovery of clues. Clues often begin as mysterious experiences that can frustrate or confound. Those same clues are often the catalyst for the discovery of program, ministry and mission in Christ’s name. Discovery is at the heart of redevelopment. I am passionate about church’s clues.
In the Outlook article, TE Kelly Allen says of TE King:
When I met Leslie, I had the immediate sense that she is a leader who could enter the most complicated situation and offer creative, reconciling leadership. Leslie is a “rooted” pastor who describes herself as “first and foremost a student in the classroom of the local congregation.” Leslie is a committed presbyter. She chaired the Administrative Commission for churches seeking separation for five years in Heartland Presbytery. She served Committee on Ministry in two presbyteries and on a Vision Planning Task Force. In her ministry, Leslie works toward a “consistent integration (in pulpit, classroom and idle conversation) of all the disciplines of hard and soft sciences, local and global politics, literature and the arts into conversation with Scripture.”
[Another editorial comment: For TE King I could not find a PC(USA) press release for her, probably because she is the most recent to be announced and it is still in the works.]
So there you have a rundown on the three Vice-Moderator candidates. It looks like the final count is five teaching elders and one ruling elder. Their present geographical locations are a bit limited with New York and Texas figuring prominently in the count bolstered by TE McKibben Dana being a Texas native. Of the Vice-Moderator candidates I have only found a Twitter feed for TE McKibben Dana (@revmamd).
The 221st General Assembly convenes one month from today, June 14th, with the Moderator Elections that evening. It will be interesting. Please join me in praying for all the candidates as the GA approaches. And stay tuned…